As I think about all the mistakes I’ve made here I want to write some stuff down to help me remember. We’re moving to a new place and I’m hoping this will give us somewhat of a fresh start. Our marriage counselor said this was wishful thinking, a noble thought, but probably not realistic. Maybe. Maybe not. I have given up a lot of ideas but one thing I cannot let go of is the hope and belief in a clean slate.
- I am not entitled.
Entitlement is the opposite of gratitude. People rant all the time these days about the overwhelming sense of entitlement coming out of the younger generations. Entitlement is not an attitude I would have ever though I struggled with but it turns out I am tremendously guilty of this. A great deal of our problems have stemmed from the fact that I expected something. I could fill in a thousand blanks with all the different things I thought I should be able to ask for. The brutally honest truth is that I am not entitled to anything. I do not deserve to be loved. I do not deserve kindness, respect, or compassion. These things are a gift from my Heavenly Father bestowed to me by way of Christ’s death and resurrection. I am a deeply blessed woman to have salvation in Christ, which is far more than I ever deserved, and anything else is just additional blessing, including a husband and the children born from our union.
- Marriage is not about romance or friendship.
This is a hard one for me to admit. I have held onto this for so long, ignoring all the naysayers that say things like marriage in the olden days likened more to that of a business arrangement. I have stubbornly rejected the ‘feelings come and go’ speech where love is not a feeling but an action and a choice. It is not that I disagreed with that, just that I believed it could be, and was meant to be, more than that. But a cordial Ma and Pa business arrangement is far more bearable and enjoyable than a strained marriage trying to force something that will never be. Closeness is not the goal. Familiarity breeds contempt. The less familiar we are, the less we really know about each other, the more space there is between us, the less I try to know and be known, the closer we actually are. I would’ve never thought this to be true but it is.
- Be supportive only.
I think this has been my biggest fail. There is a saying that says, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.” It does not matter if the good is mixed with the bad. The bad overrides. It is the fallen human nature both to say and hear the bad. If I do not have anything positive or supportive or encouraging to say I will not say it. If I have a lament or complaint or plea I will take it first to God trusting He will be my strength and my shield. I will stick to my calling of children and family. I do not need to ask questions or offer opinions on things going on with work. I am grateful my husband has a job that supports and provides for me and our children and desire to thank him for the roof over my head and the food on our table. I will do my best to offer sincere words of belief and hope and keep on hoping the impact will be a positive one, that one day they might be believed.